In sitting down with Frank and Lea Zamuner, to discuss their motivation and goals behind Frank’s 3rd annual Swim For Mental Health, one quickly discovers that these are two people who truly appreciate their quality of life, and want to inspire others to live life to its fullest.
“Six years ago I had a heart problem,” Frank says. “I had a bypass operation, and when I came out of the hospital I couldn’t sleep. As a result of that, I became severely depressed. Through heart surgery, from what I was told, a high percentage of people do end up with either mild or severe depression. And this is what happened to me. Having been there, the first thing you learn about the illness is how difficult it is to get help. To get a Doctor, it is very, very difficult.” Lea adds: “It can take a few months, to see a Doctor or get into a group program, and you need help much sooner than that. You need it right away, if possible.” “However we cannot fault the Doctor”, Frank says. “They do what they can with the facilities that they have.”
In Halton, Frank tells us, “To give you an example of the magnitude of mental illness, 47,000 people went to see Doctors, with issues related to mental illness last year.” Lea adds: “They have 17 Psychiatrists here in Oakville. That’s what the problem is – it’s the waiting period.”
At 75, Frank continues to be an active swimmer, even after his surgery, and this has been the inspiration behind his annual Swim for Mental Health event. “I find swimming to be therapeutic,” he says, “because, when you are swimming, you are in the water… in and out… as a result of that, you have to breathe! And because of the breathing then, after the swim, really you are evaporating anxiety and stress.” Frank is also active in sharing his story with others, and has recently spoken to audiences at Ryerson University, in Toronto, and at the launch event celebrating Bell Canada’s $50 million mental health initiative.
This year, Frank’s Swim For Mental Health will take place over three days, November 24th-26th, at Oakville’s Appleby College pool. Century 21’s Goodale Miller Team continues to be the presenting sponsor of this event, and there are several ways anyone out there can get involved: Of course you can get physical and swim with Frank. You can sponsor a swimmer, or join our team as a sponsor of the event itself. Visit www.swimformentalhealth.com for details.